The birth of a child should be a joyous occasion filled with happy memories for the entire family. But if a doctor or members of their medical team fail to take appropriate measures to protect the mother’s health and safety, a postpartum hemorrhage could quickly escalate, potentially becoming a catastrophic or deadly situation.
If you or a loved one suffered complications or a loved one passed away due to the negligent treatment of hemorrhage or loss of blood after giving birth, contact our Maryland hemorrhage and blood loss during birth injury attorney immediately. Call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free case consultation.
Common Causes of Hemorrhage and Blood Loss During Birth in Maryland
Experiencing minor blood loss is an expected complication of childbirth. Once the baby is delivered, the uterus normally continues to contract, expelling the placenta. At this time, the contractions help to compress any bleeding blood vessels in the area where the placenta was attached, which naturally stops minor bleeding. If the uterus is unable to contract after childbirth or there was trauma to the birth canal, the mother might suffer postpartum hemorrhaging.
The terms maternal hemorrhage or postpartum hemorrhage refer to excessive bleeding following the birth of a baby. More specifically, these conditions involve the loss of more than 500 mL of blood after a vaginal delivery or 1,000 mL after a cesarean section. Generally, hemorrhaging occurs immediately after delivery, though it is also possible in the hours soon after the birth.
While hemorrhaging is not always preventable, it is usually predictable. A doctor should be able to reasonably gauge the risk of a hemorrhage before delivery. Doctors normally identify potential hemorrhaging and treat it promptly. If your doctor failed to evaluate your risk or the hospital neglected to prepare the proper supplies and equipment to manage a potential hemorrhage, you need to contact a Maryland maternal hemorrhage attorney to determine if you were a victim of medical malpractice.
Medical Malpractice Involving Hemorrhaging and Blood Loss After Delivery in Maryland
A doctor should be prepared to properly treat a patient and address their needs during a procedure. Failing to do so can be considered medical malpractice. However, not every mistake or injury is considered malpractice. It is important to look at the whole case and assess whether the doctor did something wrong to determine whether a postpartum bleeding case involved medical malpractice.
The type of delivery can impact the probability of hemorrhaging, with cesarean sections significantly increasing the risk of hemorrhaging over natural births. Should the delivery require forceps or vacuum assistance, the likelihood of excessive bleeding also increases. Additionally, medications used to induce labor can also increase the risk of hemorrhaging. A doctor should properly analyze these risks to ensure the safety of the mother and child. If your doctor or someone on their team committed negligent errors, they might be liable for any injuries you suffered.
Steps can also be taken before delivery to ensure the mother’s safety. It is usually possible to predict the likelihood of hemorrhaging by carefully reviewing the mother’s medical history and attentively monitoring the pregnancy. Some of the factors a doctor considers include the following:
- The mother’s age and health condition (including hypertension, obesity, and previous history with birth complications)
- The number of previous pregnancies
- The difficulty of the patient’s labor so far
- The presence of excessive amniotic fluid
Failing to evaluate and manage a high-risk pregnancy may constitute medical malpractice.
The focus of care has been shifting from the mother to the baby over the last few decades. It’s reached the point where the CDC Foundation, the nonprofit arm of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, estimates that 60% of the 700 to 900 maternal deaths each year from postpartum bleeding are preventable.
Moderate-risk or high-risk patients need additional attention. Their medical team should have all the required equipment and supplies prepared and readily available in case of excess maternal bleeding. Failure to acknowledge the risks and prepare for a potential maternal hemorrhage could be negligent.
Symptoms and Diagnosis of Maternal Hemorrhage and Excessive Bleeding
Common symptoms of maternal hemorrhage include uncontrolled bleeding, decreased blood pressure, increased heart rate, decrease in red blood cells, swelling, and pain in the tissue in the vaginal and perineal areas. Whether a maternal hemorrhage has occurred can be determined by monitoring the mother’s pulse and blood pressure. An increased heart rate or decreased blood pressure can be indications of postpartum hemorrhage. Members of the medical team must actively monitor a mother’s vital signs, and the medical equipment should be properly maintained and calibrated, or else they might fail to promptly diagnose a serious maternal hemorrhage.
Excessive blood loss is the most obvious indication of maternal hemorrhaging. However, measuring a mother’s blood loss during birth is an inexact science. The estimated amount of blood loss is usually measured visually. That means the medical team merely observes the amount of blood that has soaked into sponges or pads as well as the amount of blood on the floor. While doctors could also weigh these materials to judge blood loss, monitoring the patient’s vital signs is often a quicker way to spot excessive blood loss.
Treatment for Maternal Hemorrhage Injuries in Maryland
Proper management of maternal hemorrhaging depends on the severity of the bleeding and the medical condition of the mother. In the majority of cases, the bleeding can be controlled through manual uterine massage or medication. Slightly more serious situations require the removal of placental pieces. If more conservative efforts are ineffective, a balloon or catheter would be used to stanch the bleeding.
Extreme or dangerous situations could require emergency surgery. This could involve surgically opening the abdomen to find the source of the bleeding. In extreme, life-threatening situations, an emergency hysterectomy might also be necessary to remove the uterus.
Call Our Maryland Maternal Hemorrhage Attorney Today for a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or a loved one has died from a misdiagnosed or mismanaged maternal hemorrhage, contact a medical malpractice attorney immediately. The experienced Maryland maternal hemorrhage lawyers at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice have helped people injured by negligent medical professionals receive just compensation and may be able to help you with your case as well. Call us at (410) 694-7291 today to schedule a free consultation.